1. Redesign your customer experience
Bricks-and-mortar retailers and hospitality operators may need to deal with extended social distancing measures, even when customers are allowed to return to your premises. Food businesses, for example, may need to consider redesigning the restaurant’s layout to allow for limited personal contact near takeaway counters. Retailers will also need to prevent customer bottlenecks at the counter so customers can easily adhere to social distancing rules still in effect.
2. Rethink your payment methods
Restrictions around physical contact may be among the last to be lifted. So, receiving cash from customers and handling change will need to be re-thought. Where possible, consider using payment systems that don’t require contact such as tap-and-go card readers, in-store QR payment codes customers can scan without going to the counter, and online prepayment wherever possible.
3. Know your numbers
Hairdressers and barber shops are currently allowed to operate as long as they adhere to one customer per four square metres. It’s possible that entertainment, hospitality and arts venues may reopen under the same customer restrictions. Knowing how you’ll track and possibly restrict entry into your venue could help you prepare for a phased reopening.
4. Plan for a slow start
Be prepared that other businesses and suppliers may be slow to adjust to changing restrictions. That could be due to some restrictions limiting certain trades, or it could be that customers may be apprehensive to return even when all restrictions are lifted. It could be beneficial to keep costs down during times of reduced trade, so roster carefully to avoid over-staffing shifts.
What’s clear is that the road ahead for business still looks uncertain. As restrictions are inevitably lifted, business owners will need to manage their expectations, ensure they can accommodate any upheld restrictions, and control costs as we begin the slow roll-back to business as usual.